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 Inspirational and thought-provoking messages informed by my faith, ministry in education and community development 


Blame Throwers

June 06, 2023
By Dr. Terry Flowers

Forrest Hoglund and I have held a long-term debate over what are the most powerful words for humankind. Anyone familiar with St. Philip’s is aware of one of our key mantras, “If it is to be, it is up to me (ten words).” Prominent businessman and philanthropist, Forrest Hoglund, uses 9 words, If it is to be, it’s up to me. As our friend Forrest approaches his 90th birthday, July 1st 2023, I have a compromise. Whether you use eight, nine, or ten words to get the message across, Forrest would agree that St. Philip’s is simply working to avoid producing “blame throwers.”

Accountability, responsibility, and overcoming obstacles are the order of instruction and experiences in the embattled neighborhood surrounding us. Defiance of the odds and building upon legacies of sacrifices that have paved the way for our current existence. Every Summer for the past 21 years, researchers have published studies about the devastating impact of Summer learning loss. These studies document academic drop-offs are attributable to children being away from school during the Summer. While absence from school is a key factor, parents must dodge becoming Blame Throwers.

“A day without learning is a day wasted.” This is another mantra of St. Philip’s. Thus, every parent is responsible for leveraging time and resources during the Summer to build upon what their children accomplished during the school year. Camps like the one St. Philip’s operates each Summer, along with museums, libraries, churches, and community resources are there to support your “if it is to be, it’s up to me.”

“Parenting can vary but should never vacation.” Don’t become a blame-thrower. Blame never extinguished a fire, paid a bill, or solved a problem. Blame fuels dysfunction everywhere, including in politics and pulpits. Action ignites change. Therefore, in honor of his nine decades of life, I will agree with our dear Kansas University bleeding friend, Forrest Hogland, on the nine most powerful words for humanity under one condition… The condition that “if it is to be, it’s up to me” is only applicable to the power of God within us.

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